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November 22nd, 2011

The 4 Best Items In All Of Minecraft

Posted in Minecraft

Choosing the best Minecraft item is like choosing your favorite organ: it should be impossible but you can have a cleary favorite. I certainly do, ladies (and ten percent of gentlemen). The whole point of both systems is how wonderfully everything works together, but a few items embody the sheer joys of Minecraft servers even better than everything else.

The Saddle

The saddle allows you to ride animals, which is like saying the Shakespeare allows you to read the English language. The reality is so far beyond the literal description it embodies the very concept of the game. Because you can’t steer the pig. You saddle it, get on, and you have no idea where you’ll end up. There’s no clear goal, and absolutely no point, but you do it anyway because it’s fun. It couldn’t be a better embodiment of Minecraft if it was Notch. The only improvement it needs is to become craftable, and the odds of something becoming craftable in a future update is somewhere above 100%.

Until then, the saddle is a rare dungeon item — while the pig still has a mind of its own, and won’t give the saddle back. This forces you to form a relationship with the animal, lest you lose everything you’ve invested, but when your recalcitrant partner sometimes refuses to move the only way to start it is by hitting it. But hit it too hard and it dies and you lose everything. We really hope this situation doesn’t sound familiar to anyone.

Unfortunately not every update improves things. The Alpha 1.2.4 removed Minecraft’s ultimate vehicle: the 1-porkpower minecart! It used to be possible to push a pig into a minecart to harness its speed to the rails. This was removed on the minor grounds that it’s a ridiculous glitch involving pig trotters pushing through solid metal. Hopefully a future update will allow us to craft minecarts with trotter holes.

Move over Ferrari!


The clock seems an amusing novelty until you consider its true implications, just like the real thing. Timepieces are one of the most important breakthroughs in the real world. They were vital for navigation and exploration, scientific research, and suddenly becoming much better at getting lots of things done. All the things you do in a Minecraft server!

The recipe recognises the awesome value of the device, making it from some of the most precious and useful materials in the Minecraft universe. True, the original clocks weren’t made of jewellery and magic radioactive powder. But that’s because they weren’t effectively wireless smartphones. Once you make a clock, anywhere, you always have the time of day – just hit the button to bring up your statistics menu and the icon there will tell you the time, no matter where your real clock may have gone.

Lapis Lazuli Dye

Lapis Lazuli Dye is the most gloriously pointless item in virtual creation. It’s the second rarest dye in existence, and yes, that “dye” means all it does it change wool’s color. But it’s brilliant. It’s effectively more luxurious than the rarest dye ingredient, Cocoa brown, because you can get brown dye direct from brown sheep now. It’s effectively rarer than diamond because it’s just as rare by the numbers but randomly distributed so it’s much harder to find. All to make things blue, which you’ll only do because you can!

It’s like blue LEDs: there’s no reason to make things blue other than it looks cool. And the only reason it’s cool is because we couldn’t do that before. But while blue LEDs were limited by quantum mechanical energy gaps and the specifics of semiconductors, Lapis Lazuli is only rare because someone said it should be. And we hunt it down because that’s more than enough reason! Lapis Lazuli gives rise to the whole spectrum of blues, which might be only three colors but in Minecraft’s retro-styled land that’s like four rainbows.

Nether Portal

Oh man, if you thought wrapping a pig in bits of cow and sitting on it represented lunatic entertainment, that’s nothing. The Nether Portal requires you to mine (or make) the hardest material inside the bedrock bounds of the universe, using diamond equipment, then construct a portal and invoke fire just so you can go to hell.

That sounds like a great idea, and not at all like a horror movie!

Why? Because hell is there and you haven’t seen it yet.

It’s such a testament to constructive madness. The Nether Portal is one of the most demanding constructions in existence, and the only “benefit” is teleporting you to a ridiculously unfriendly place which will kill you, and you’ll lose everything you had there. The Nether only works as a distance multiplier as an afterthought. Traveling in the Nether means you travel eight times as far in the real world, making it a wonderful parallel for the Warp from 40k (another universe designed only to kill you), but to actually use that you have to build another Nether Portal in hell under constant enemy fire. You’d be faster and safer just walking in the real world. Hell, you’d probably be better off just waiting for continental drift to move you, and Minecraft servers don’t have that.

The destination reviews aren’t very positive

It’s brilliant. Making ridiculous efforts to do stupid things just because you haven’t done them before. That’s why we invent virtual worlds. Because if we indulged these urges in the real world we’d be extinct.

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